by Jamie Rich | August 25, 2016

Editor’s Note: Can’t Stop the Music

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Jamie Rich, Editor in Chief & Publisher

Jamie Rich, Editor in Chief & Publisher; Photography by Ingrid Damiani; styling by Alix Robinson

The past few months have left many of us emotionally drained, every day starting with a story more horrific than the day before. The list of cities recently marked by violence reads like a top-five of (formerly) carefree travel destinations: Baton Rouge; Dallas; Munich; Nice, France; and our own Orlando.

When the Pulse nightclub shooting happened in June, I was transfixed for days, absorbing every detail of the tragedy as it developed. I stayed glued to the news for weeks as tributes to the victims poured out, sordid details of the killer’s troubled life unfolded and eventually celebrations and solemn marches took place around the world.

But shortly after news broke of the Orlando shooting, a friend and I went to a concert that we had been looking forward to for a while. I felt guilty dressing up in anticipation of a festive night when the rest of the state, the country and the world were reeling. In the auditorium waiting for the show to start, I continued taking in the latest updates on my phone.

Then the lights came on, the speakers exploded with sound and for the next two hours I got lost in the music. I felt normal again. I took a time-out from stress and sadness, and I think I needed it.

In an interview for a story inside this issue, guitar virtuoso Derek Trucks shared with me some wisdom that strikes a chord and speaks perfectly to why an edition dedicated to arts and culture is important right now.

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After the tragedy in Orlando, we created this heart-icon to share on social media and show support to everyone touched by the event.

“There’s only so many things in the world that give people real relief, and for me, music is an amazing outlet. I’ve certainly listened to things that have changed the way I’ve thought about the world,” Trucks said. “And I feel like, a band like this, you want to get in front of people and give them a little bit of that medicine.”

In this issue we deliver a heavy dose of the art, music, literature and culture emblematic of our home state. We unwrap Art Basel and present readers with our curated guide to taking on Miami Art Week, which has been called North America’s most important art fair. We unearth stories from the orange groves, straight from the families who’ve been caring for the iconic fruit over many generations. Author Diane Roberts tackles the ultimate autumn ritual, college football, and the tribal culture that surrounds it. And in our cover story, we get to know JJ Grey, a guitar-playing poet who draws inspiration from a variety of sources, most notably the land and people of Florida. His soulful voice and songwriting talent have reached far beyond his hometown audience, resonating with an international fan base.

A cultural connection is just what Floridians need to find fresh perspective. When we struggle under the weight of a seemingly endless stream of heartbreaking stories, we should not forget or ignore them. But we also should not feel guilty if we pause to sing, to dance or to gaze at art, especially if doing so brings us closer to those we love.

I can hear the pine trees
sing to the sun
I can hear the birds, they’re all having fun
I’m going to sing along
to the rhythm of one
Singing along
’Cause everything is a song

—JJ Grey